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View Diary: Recent DOE Break-Through with Hydrogen Fuel Cells, should make them Affordable (275 comments)

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  •  so (4+ / 0-)

    what's the catch?

    safety?  infrastructure? wear and tear on the engine?


    I'm assuming H2 ==> has No CO2 outputs.


    Got Time?
    Take ten, to find something else informative and fun to read. Thx.

    by jamess on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 07:07:42 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  So direct burn H2 more efficient, better. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jamess, Gustogirl, Matt Z, JohnnySacks
      "what's the catch? safety?  infrastructure? wear and tear on the engine?"

      Physics does not provide a free lunch. What are the "catches" to fuel cells powered by H2?

      One of the many advantages to direct burn of H2 in internal combustion engines is that it requires no change in current automobile manufacturing or engineering. It could be deployed in mass production immediately.

      The infrastructure build out would be adding hydrogen filling stations to current gasoline filling stations, a necessity for any hydrogen powered vehicle whether directly burning hydrogen or indirectly and less efficiently burning hydrogen such as in the fuel cells.

      Fuel cells would be more appropriate in homes generating electricity.

      •  This is an important point: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jamess, Matt Z
        Fuel cells would be more appropriate in homes generating electricity.

        Admittedly, my interest in this stems from owning a remote, off-the-grid cabin; but eliminating the grid altogether strikes me as an extremely desirable goal.

        If each house could produce its own electricity directly, the terrible waste of "line loss" (the loss of electricity in transport on the grid) could be eliminated.  Even better - the enormous vulnerability of the grid to terrorist attack or natural disaster  damage would be eliminated.

        Remember when a problem with the grid blacked out everyone on the eastern seaboard and west into the great lakes states a few years back?

        At least in a natural disaster area, if each home were self-sufficient for power, there would be pockets of working energy sources that could help residents whose energy sources were damaged while repairs were being made.  As it stands now, huge swaths are rendered helpless in freezing cold when the grid goes out.  Sometimes it takes weeks to restore power.

        Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth - Abraham Lincoln

        by Gustogirl on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 08:31:35 AM PDT

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      •  Thermal Energy Per Pound (0+ / 0-)

        Gasoline is about 18,500 BTU/lb vs. hydrogen at 51,500 BTU/lb

        (Damn, it's been a long time since I've been in engineering)  The problem is that if a gallon of gas provides 114,000 BTU and 1 cubic foot of hydrogen at atmospheric pressure (14.7psi) produces 319 BTU then 8 gallons of hydrogen at 5,000 psi would be equivalent to a gallon of gas.  I don't know how willing I am to drive around with 8 gallons of hydrogen at 5,000 psi.

    •  Right now I think the catch is *getting* H2 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jamess, OtherDoug

      Unlike O2, which naturally exists in the atmosphere, H2 is not; it's so light that it just escapes into space.

      We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

      by Samer on Sun Apr 24, 2011 at 08:34:43 AM PDT

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